Squire is OpenTable for barber shops.
Hometown: New York, NY
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Q&A With Songe LaRon, CEO
What problem is your startup solving?
We noticed that barber shops all over the country experience the same pain points, namely long wait times, inefficient scheduling, and inconsistent payment methods. After years of experiencing these frustrations, we decided to create a solution.
How did your team meet each other?
I have known Dave for over five years. We first met at one of Dave’s infamous Harlem house parties. Over the years, we’ve become good friends and have worked together on several projects.
Describe your team in three words.
Scrappy. Diverse. Hustlers.
The startup life can be a real grind. What do you and your team members do to blow off some steam or during downtime?
Each month the team goes to dinner at a different type of restaurant. This month we’ll be trying Uzbek food since our head of product has family from Uzbekistan. We’re also known to keep a good bottle of bourbon in the office at all times.
What’s the biggest reward from running your startup?
Knowing that the products we build help shop owners improve their business and help guys look and feel their best.
Finish this sentence: “I’ll know my company has succeeded when…”
…the word Squire is a household name synonymous with male grooming all over the world.
How can working in the Buffalo startup ecosystem help your startup thrive?
Relocating to Buffalo makes strategic sense for us because we plan on launching in the Canadian market in 2018, and being in Buffalo would help us operationally.
Did you have an entrepreneurial side at a young age? Explain.
Yes, I was always very creative and liked the idea of using my ideas to create value for people. In high school, we had very few options for lunch. I saw an opportunity. I would buy $1 chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s and then sell them to my classmates for $2. It was a great business until the principal found out and demanded I stop!
Describe a time when you failed – how did you respond or come back from it?
The first time I took the LSAT, I scored lower than I expected. I was devastated. I decided to take it again and dedicated an entire summer to studying 8 hours a day. The second time I did much better and was eventually accepted to every law school I applied to.
Explain your startup as if you were explaining to a kindergartener.
We make it easy for guys to find the best barbers and get their hair cut.
In high school, you were voted:
Most attractive…just kidding…most likely to succeed.
What’s your why? (Why did you create this company?)
The process of getting a haircut is antiquated and hasn’t changed much in the last 40 years. Yet, getting a haircut is a very personal and important part of a person’s life. We’re the first tech company to focus exclusively on the barbering/male grooming industry.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at the beginning stages of your company, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t only solve your own problems as a barber shop client; learn what barbers need because they’re the ones who will use Squire every day.
Is this your first startup?
If you could perform live on stage with one singer or band, who would it be?
Nas, my favorite rapper.
What can’t you live without?
My iPhone. My personal and professional life is completely dependent on it.
When you can’t sleep, what do you do?
Read really difficult text on philosophy or physics. This usually puts me to sleep in no time.
What do you fear?
When I’m old, looking back on my life and thinking I didn’t give it 100%.
Name a few items on your personal bucket list.
Travel to outer space (Mars if it’s safe in my lifetime. If not, I’ll settle on the Moon), drive a sports car on the Autobahn, and donate vast sums of money to charities I believe in.
What are you most proud of this far in your life?
Founding Squire. Taking it from an idea to a product that over 70,000 people have used and hundreds of barbers depend on every day.
Who are your heroes?
Frederick Douglass, Toussaint Louverture, Elon Musk.
Check out Squire’s pitch from 43North Finals below!